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Harvati, Katerina Department of Paleoanthropology, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
- Mauer jaw
- Further fossil evidence
- Status of Homo heidelbergensis
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Homo heidelbergensis is a species of extinct humans that lived in Europe and possibly also in Africa and Asia approximately 600–300 KYA (that is, thousand years before the present) in the time period known as the Middle Pleistocene. The species was named by Otto Schoetensack in 1908, following the discovery of the Mauer mandible (lower jaw) by workmen in a sandpit in the village of Mauer, near Heidelberg, Germany. This specimen serves as the holotype, or type specimen, of this species; that is, it is the specimen on which H. heidelbergensis was described in the original publication. Therefore, the original definition of the species relies on mandibular features of a European hominin (fossil human). Homo heidelbergensis was among the earliest fossil human species to be recognized, following H. neanderthalensis, first discovered in Germany in 1856, and Pithecanthropus erectus, later renamed H. erectus, discovered in Java in the early 1890s.
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